Excess weight linked to memory problems in older women

July 15, 2010 in Nutrition for Older Adults, Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management, Women's Health

Excess weight linked to memory problems in older women
It turns out older women hoping to keep their minds in top form should keep an eye on the scale.  Researchers from Northwestern University in Chicago are reporting a link between slowing down mentally and piling on the pounds.

In fact, the study found that for every extra point gained on a scale of obesity, scores in reasoning, memory and other mental skills fell.

Researchers studied more than 8700 post-menopausal women between the ages of 65 and 79 who were partaking in the Women's Health Initiative, an ongoing national study of illness and death among older American women.

Researchers compared women's body mass index, or BMI, to their results on a test that measured their mental sharpness, including memory, abstract reasoning, writing, and temporal and spatial orientation skills.

The study found that for each point increase in the BMI scale, scores on the mental test went down by one point.  While the scores were still in the normal range, researchers note that excess body weight definitely had a notable detrimental effect on mental sharpness.

The findings were reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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